Cincinnati Reds: Is the Bullpen Improving?

Michael HammonsCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2010

HOUSTON - JULY 23:  Pitcher Francisco Cordero #48 of the Cincinnati Reds throws in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 23, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

According to Websters:

"A temporary holding area for prisoners."

Take a look at the Reds' inconsistent bullpen performances throughout the course of the season thus far, and make your own jokes.

At times, we all wish that whenever someone not named Arthur Rhodes was coming into the game, that the bullpen gate was locked from the other side.  Maybe throwing a canopy over the bullpen is a good idea as well.  No one gets in, no one gets out.  Think John Rocker's return to Shea stadium, when he had to be shielded from all the adulation after his loving comments about the city.

As we proceed forward, however, the reality is, the bullpen will be needed.  It won't be a beautiful symphony of starting pitchers going deep into the games every night.  Guys will need to step up.

Well, where to turn to?  The Reds signed former Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen to a minor league contract. All signs suggest that he is healthy and just about ready to go.  Additionally, longtime reliever Russ Springer is also in the mix as well.

Beyond that, other names floating around in trade rumors include Octavio Dotel, Kyle Farnsworth, and Kerry Wood, among others.  Their respective teams indicated that they were available.

If nothing happens though, is the current situation as dire as people make it out to be? 

Francisco Cordero has pitched much better as of late.  His ERA for the month of July is 2.35.  Since topping out at an ugly 4.36 on June 21st, it now stands at 3.83.  Not good for a closer, but getting better, as he's starting to work the inside part of the plate more.

Arthur Rhodes has been doing a lot of the setup work, and we all know his story, but another primary setup guy, Nick Masset, has greatly improved as the season has gone on.  A 0.77 ERA this month, and overall, his ERA stands at an ugly 4.57, but is nearly three runs lower from what he had a few months ago.

He's a good pitcher.  He did an excellent job last year, and I believe he's rounding back into form, as he's starting to trust his stuff more.

Looking on down the list of relievers, newcomer Jordan Smith has pitched well, sporting a 3.06 ERA.  Logan Ondrusek has a 3.77 ERA, and hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 15 appearances, dating back to June 15th.

Guys who didn't do the job earlier in the season, such as Daniel Ray Herrera and Mike Lincoln, aren't part of the equation currently.

For weeks, if not months now, the chatter has centered around improving the bullpen.  While you can never have enough reliable arms, I think the recent stats and results perhaps indicate that maybe the problem is no longer as bad as it once was.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.